I think it would be fair to say that coming into the start of last year, the Pokemon franchise had become a bit stale. The games were still international best sellers, but the fourth generation of games (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum) had a pretty lazy roster of new monsters, and these were followed up by remakes of the second generation games Gold & Silver, which while good, were essentially rehashed games from the last decade. Pokemon needed a serious kick up the arse to keep itself relevant.
Enter the fifth generation of Pokemon, in the form of Black & White. These games brought 150 completely original monsters into the fray, and introduced a number of new features designed to get a whole new generation of children into Pokemon. Now the advertsing must have been pretty effective, because in November last year I actually went out and purchased a DS to get back into Pokemon after a five year hiatus, picking up a copy of Pokemon White in the process. After a modest 160 hours of game-time, I feel well placed to give my thoughts on whether Black & White have done the trick, and made Pokemon interesting again. Continue reading Time To Go Monochrome – Pokemon Black And White Review→
On Saturday, the director behind the Pokemon series of games, Junichi Masuda, told fans to tune into the Pokemon Smash channel for a very big announcement. You could be forgiven for completely ignoring the man – after all, the Pokemon Company have become quite notorious over time for overhyping relatively mundane announcements, but this time we have a genuine surprise. It’s not Pokemon Grey – but rather we are getting Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2; the first numeric sequels in the history of Pokemon.
The quite unexpected announcement came with relatively few details with regards to gameplay or plot, but here are the main headlines – it will be a DS game rather than a 3DS title (although of course 3DS owners can play DS cartridges), they will be released in Japan this coming June with a US release coming soon after, and a teaser site has been set up showing only the following image:
Now if you have played Black and White, you will immediately recognise the monsters on show here – it’s the game mascots Zekrom and Reshiram…only they appear to have been fused with the ice dragon Kyurem. Nothing more has been said yet about the game, so we have to wait until further news from Masuda himself to confirm what the hell is going on. Could we be seeing Pokemon fusions? I for one hope not.
I’ll update this story when I steal more news from sites that actually break the story in the next few weeks.
UPDATE:News has come in today confirming an Autumn release date for the UK. Very good stuff indeed. Now to see what the game plays like…
Yesterday marked the point where I finished all my work for this semester…and you know what that means right? Plenty of free time until January to play games of course! Today I will be marking the great occasion with a quick roundup of important news from the past week. So as usual, prepare for the bullet points:
This weekend marks the start of the annual VGA awards hosted by Spike TV. It’s normally a pretty big event – for example, the likes of Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim got their first outings there last year. So what have we got to look forward to for this year? Well, Bioware and Epic Games are looking to announce new titles, Hideo Kojima is poised to give more information on the long awaited Metal Gear Solid: Rising, and we will learn more on the likes of the next Tony Hawk title, Mass Effect 3 and Bioshock Infinite amongst other things. Well worth watching then; coverage starts in the morning at 1pm in Britain
After a slight delay, Microsoft managed to roll out the latest Xbox dashboard earlier this week. Designed with Kinect integration in mind, it has received mixed reviews, with more than a fair share of consumers (myself included) complaining that it has become far too dominated by adverts and much more awkward to navigate – for example, why on earth would you swap the disc eject button from X to Y? Completely pointless. And we have to wait even longer in Britain before you get the good stuff like Youtube and the BBC Iplayer. At least it works I suppose.
The Wii is five years old this Christmas, and to celebrate (and no doubt increase the exposure of the console for its last Christmas as Nintendo’s premier console), the Official Nintendo Magazine has published a Top Ten List of the best games on the Wii, as voted for by readers of the magazine. It’s a pretty damn strong list, with a winner that you perhaps wouldn’t expect – click here for the full list. And in a week where lists have been popping up all over the place, IGN has produced another intriguing Top 100 list – the best moments in video games, which you can check out here.
A few eagerly anticipated Japanese games now have confirmed release dates for Europe – Deep Silver’s simulation cum puzzler Catherine will finally arrive on February 10th, while the last of the games requested by Operation Rainfall earlier this year, Mistwalker’s The Last Story, will arrive a bit later on February 24th.
Finally, if you are one of these trendy types who prefer Apple products, you can now purchase the legendary Chrono Trigger off of ITunes. Well worth a tenner methinks
That’s my take of some of the more interesting stories of the week. Aside from the news, I have had quite an interesting week. For example, I bought a pre-owned DS with Pokemon White the other day, making it my first Nintendo console that I have actually bought rather than been given, and meaning that after many years away from the franchise, I have finally got back into Pokemon. I’m not finding the game to have the same thrill as Red & Blue gave me over a decade ago, but its not a bad game nevertheless. I have also started up again in Skyrim, this time playing through as a Dark Elf. I might actually get round to completing more than 30% of the plot before getting distracted this time around. And as a fan of Japanese animation, I am looking forward to the upcoming fortnight of Studio Ghibli films being shown on Film 4. This Christmas period is shaping up quite nicely.